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Front Mounted Child Seats

Old 01-18-05, 02:34 PM
  #1  
abmo
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Does anyone have any experience with front mounted child seats. I have a 3 year old who I'd like to ride with and I like the control and balance these seem to offer. My LBS has 2 options, the "companion" which is basically a bike seat on the top tube with foot pegs on the down tube as seen in the middle picture, for $50. and the centric safe-haven which is more like a full fledged classic child carrier mounted on the top tube as shown in the 1st and 3rd picture for $120. I would appreciate any input.

Last edited by abmo; 01-18-05 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 01-18-05, 04:24 PM
  #2  
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Personally, I use a burley trailer. Those kinds of seats are too top heavy. Lose control and both of you can get injured. W/ a burley trailer, it stays in position even if the bike tips over. Those seats are also a problem if you have a squirmy kid.
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Old 01-18-05, 07:00 PM
  #3  
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I don't recommend either. If you want a child seat mounted on your bike, get a rear mounted one. Your still better off with a trailer.
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Old 01-19-05, 09:08 AM
  #4  
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A front mounted seat compromises your braking by putting the weight forward, and puts the child in greater danger of a face plant with you landing on top of him. A rear-mounted seat is better for braking, but is still tippy.

I love our Burley trailer, and my son loves it too.
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Old 01-19-05, 09:24 AM
  #5  
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Trailers are best. Any child seat compromises control and balance, and there is no way to carry toys, diaper bag, etc. I like trailers.

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Old 01-19-05, 12:21 PM
  #6  
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I'm with the trailer crowd. This last month my wife and oldest son have been out of town, and my youngest (3 year old) and myself have been alone, completely car-free. I've been taking him with me to work, to the grocery store, to the park, etc, pulling him in the Burley. Going to work or to the park we load it up with toys and other necessities, at the store we load it up with groceries.

Sverre
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Old 01-20-05, 04:43 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by abmo
Does anyone have any experience with front mounted child seats. I have a 3 year old who I'd like to ride with and I like the control and balance these seem to offer. My LBS has 2 options, the "companion" which is basically a bike seat on the top tube with foot pegs on the down tube as seen in the middle picture, for $50. and the centric safe-haven which is more like a full fledged classic child carrier mounted on the top tube as shown in the 1st and 3rd picture for $120. I would appreciate any input.
I bought the Centric and on the first test ride without child, the bolts that hold the bar to the head tube came loose, resulting in the loss of the bracket and carrier needed to keep the bar snug and flush on the head tube. Centric hasn't returned my emails on whether I can get a replacement part or if this might be available at a LBS.
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Old 01-20-05, 06:31 AM
  #8  
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What would happen if you went over the bars? At least there would be something to between you and the ground.
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Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......
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Old 01-20-05, 07:02 AM
  #9  
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I am not sure if I like the idea of my child sitting in front of me while riding.I have my little one on a seat behind me.it kind of protects him from wind and stuff while we ride.I am unimpeded with steering and braking
I really thought about a trailer.still am.just don't think that my son would care for it much.( he probly would not care if the truth were known)
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Old 01-21-05, 03:53 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Rick G
I am not sure if I like the idea of my child sitting in front of me while riding.I have my little one on a seat behind me.it kind of protects him from wind and stuff while we ride.I am unimpeded with steering and braking
I really thought about a trailer.still am.just don't think that my son would care for it much.( he probly would not care if the truth were known)
My child doesn't have the patience for more than about a mile in the trailer unless she has a playmate in the trailer, but a trailer is clearly the safest option. I can get her to go that far with a couple of stuffed animals.

It would be easier to keep an eye on the child in front and give the child an unobstructed view vs. a rear seat. Easier to talk to the child as well.
There is a long safety history in Europe of front sited child seats that suggest pros and cons of front vs. rear is about a wash on safety.
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Old 01-21-05, 12:16 PM
  #11  
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I used that top-tube seat, the one in the middle, with two kids, and bought one for a friend who used it for his daughter from about age 2 to 5 or 6, and we loved them (all three children are in college now, so that was quite a while ago). We'd both tried conventional rear-mount baby seats, but they seemed to unbalance the bikes and you had no idea what the passengers were doing. With the kids in front of you, you can talk normally and you have a much better idea of what's going on. Also, the bike feels more stable without 30 pounds dangling off the back. We even did some light off-roading with them.
The looks of the thing seemed to make a lot of people nervous, and I was asked many times, "What happens if you crash?" That's always a concern, but what happens if you crash anyway? We always wore helmets, and my plan--never tested--was that if we had to eat it, I'd just protect the baby with my arms and take my lumps. I don't see how it could be worse than whipping around in one of those rear-mount seats.
One caution: Be careful with the positioning of the foot pegs, and make sure you follow instructions on how the kid's feet should go on them. There's some specific instruction about the straps that I can't remember now, but whatever it was made a difference--it was either ALWAYS put your toes through them or NEVER put your toes through them, I've forgotten which....
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Old 01-21-05, 01:48 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by abmo
Does anyone have any experience with front mounted child seats. I have a 3 year old who I'd like to ride with and I like the control and balance these seem to offer. My LBS has 2 options, the "companion" which is basically a bike seat on the top tube with foot pegs on the down tube as seen in the middle picture, for $50. and the centric safe-haven which is more like a full fledged classic child carrier mounted on the top tube as shown in the 1st and 3rd picture for $120. I would appreciate any input.
I think, in order to use these, the rider will have to adjust the saddle height such that the rider can leg-reach the ground when stopped, while still on the saddle. There is no room to straddle the bike like one normally would.
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Old 01-22-05, 10:54 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by meb
My child doesn't have the patience for more than about a mile in the trailer unless she has a playmate in the trailer, but a trailer is clearly the safest option. I can get her to go that far with a couple of stuffed animals.

It would be easier to keep an eye on the child in front and give the child an unobstructed view vs. a rear seat. Easier to talk to the child as well.
There is a long safety history in Europe of front sited child seats that suggest pros and cons of front vs. rear is about a wash on safety.
It would be better for my son to see about in the front.As far as talking to him well,he just chatters along anyway.he just grabs the cross bar or my back pockets and rides along.sometimes he puts his feet on the back of my legs and "helps" me peddle.
anyway thats my 2 cents
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Old 01-22-05, 11:17 AM
  #14  
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I used both rear seat and trailer when my kids were little (not at the same time). My oldest HATED the rear seat (she felt tippy) but both (at a later date) LOVED the trailer. No problem for wiggles, and they loved the speed. My grandaughter (7,who doesn't yet pay enough attention to traffic) also adores it, and when she gets tired, she just falls asleep in the harness. Another benefit is not only can you put stuff in the trailer with the kid, you can put more than one (small) kid. good if you are a single parent.
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Old 01-23-05, 10:58 AM
  #15  
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Bicycle mounted kids seats of ANY kind are death or injury waiting to
happen. Period. If you love your kids at all haul them in a quality....
TRAILER.
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Old 01-25-05, 09:45 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Tightwad
Bicycle mounted kids seats of ANY kind are death or injury waiting to
happen. Period. If you love your kids at all haul them in a quality....
TRAILER.
This is like the people who drive their cars to work but say they dont bike because it is too dangerous.

The things I dont like about those seats. Having the saddle so low so you can reach the ground and pedaling with your knees splayed out around the child makes for very uncomfortable pedaling. I used a rear mounted seat. It had a significant effect on the handling, so take the first ride in a big parking lot so you can get used to it before you tackle the roads or bike paths. Be careful and enjoy yourself. My daughter preferred to run along the sidewalk next to the bike, but the seat was OK for when she got tired.
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Old 03-15-05, 12:03 AM
  #17  
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Well, I don't always get off the seat when I'm stopped. I shift over with one foot down. So I don't see that that has to be a problem for these seats. I think I like these seats better than the rear mounted ones.

I also like the idea of being close to your child. How realistic is the fear of a trailer getting run over by a car that doesn't see it? I've never heard of it happening... I've also heard that the secret is using those tall orange flags...
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Old 03-15-05, 12:13 AM
  #18  
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I found this: http://www.helmets.org/little1s.htm
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Old 09-16-05, 12:43 PM
  #19  
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Hi There, I have some info for you on a fully interactive front mounted child carrier.


This is a very new seat and will be available in about a week online.
“Physics tells us that a child, in a child seat, mounted on a bike, raise the center of gravity of the bike. This changes how the bike handles and create instability. The heavier the child the greater the impact. But, the weight of an infant is negligible compared to the size and strength of most adults so usually the change in balance is not unacceptable. If you want to practice before you put you kid into the child seat, load a book back with the appropriate weight of books and strap it into the seat and take it for a ride.” As read from the IBF (ibike.org website)

Positioning the child seat in front of the adult rider keeps the center of gravity between the riders and for most adults the change in the center of gravity is manageable. (Bike Tutor observations)

Last edited by Axiom Man; 09-16-05 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 09-16-05, 12:55 PM
  #20  
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i lots of studies and info, post here or email me at thebiketutor@yahoo.com everyone must learn to ride.
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Old 09-17-05, 02:32 PM
  #21  
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I prefer the seat on the back to the trailer. With the trailer he's too far away, I can't reach him. On our longer bike rides I can hand him water to remind him to drink. The urban trails I ride on have narrow distances inbetween the posts they put up to dissuade cars from driving on the paths, and some of the curb cuts and even some bridges are very narrow, I would be afraid of bumping or would have to slow down to a stop every minute or so it seems.

I can't ride on the single track with the trailer, not that I do often or that the single track we take is anything challenging. I don't want to just cart him around to sleep, I want to have an interactive father/son experience; and from what I can tell, so does he - he asks to go for bike rides. I've read positives and negatives about rear seats versus trailers and alot seems to come down to what sort of collision you have, so I stay on trails as much as possible, keep away from cars. I'm just lucky enough to live a few blocks away from a great urban trail 30-35 miles long roundtrip.

I have gone down with him on the back, because there was a huge differential between the pavement and concrete gutter/curb. I had to ride in the street because someone left an old dishwasher in the middle of the sidewalk. I got lots of cuts and scrapes and he didn't have even a bruise.

We have enjoyed our ride timetogether so much over the past year, that I have just purchased an xtracycle so that I can put his younger brother on the back at the same time. I chose against the front mount because I'm afraid of the impedance to my control of the bike. The boys can't go 5 minutes without hurting each other in their playroom, I can't even imagine what putting them in a trailer for 3 hours would do.

Besides in another year, I hope to put them on a tandem with me. This prepares them (and us) for that. I don't know how I can live with myself for "not loving my kids enough to put them in a trailer".
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Old 09-17-05, 08:56 PM
  #22  
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Very interesting thread. My wife and I had some pretty heated arguments about the merits of seats (front or rear) vs. trailers. Our youngest was about 2.5 yrs old at the time, and my wife was lobbying hard for a seat. Friends had a rear mount, and although they mentioned about the instability issue, felt that they could live with it. I went out to buy a seat, but was quickly swayed by the Burley trailer display at my LBS. After some deliberation, I came home with the (two kid) Bee. I figured that the extra width of the double would reduce the rollover issue. To me, it felt immediately natural, and we have used it a number of times this summer. My wife still thinks I made a mistake, but I'm the one who would have to carry her, and I just couldn't handle the extra mass high up. I discounted the front one based on fear of crashes, affect on my riding position, etc.

I wish I had seen the helmets.org site earlier. They make a number of good points. It would not have changed my mind, but would have given me some additional issues to consider. Some of which I did figure out on my own - like the danger of debris being kicked up from loose surfaces. Annie has also called out to me "too bumpy Daddy" more than once, prompting me to slow it down - quickly. If she had been younger and less verbal, the danger might have been lost on me. I also am working on some extra padding from the base of the neck down to allow the helmeted head to remain more upright. She gets uncomfortable after a while with the head in the slightly downward position.

Steve
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Old 09-19-05, 09:00 AM
  #23  
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well i agree with what is being said here...there is a lot of merit to the trailer, and the rear seat. However, the Bike Tutor (front mounted child/cargo carrier) is designed to be a "Tutor". If you would like your children to learn the balance of riding in a natural riding position, with their own set of handlebars mounted to yours, all engineered approved for 44 lbs with lightweight ALLOY from with heavy duty fabric cover. This is where the front mounted seat comes in far ahead of the rear seat or the trailer. The purpose of each is quite different, and concerning the issue of risk, cycling in general is a risky mode of transportation (then again so is everything). Ride Safe!!! I believe that teaching your child to ride has no equal as far as the enjoyment and purpose of the learning are concerned.

You must buy a touring seat for long arduous rides, and if you want to teach them to ride (while simply riding, and communicating), I would recommend a front mounted child/cargo carrier.
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Old 09-19-05, 10:18 PM
  #24  
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I have the Centric Safe Haven front mounted seat, and my 2 year old and I both LOVE it. He always sees where we are going, it is easier to talk to him, and I feel like I have a little more protection for him having my arms around him. Having said that, I do realize that all bets are off in a crash. I think it is a matter of personal preference. If possible, test each option out. For me, I didn't like the idea of my son having to watch my back all the time and not be able to easily talk to him... My 2 cents worth
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Old 09-20-05, 06:26 AM
  #25  
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You have to be kidding me right. That is about as safe as giving a monkey a loaded gun.

I have seen the on the back seats, but never one like this.
Let me fill every one in on riding a child on the bike rather than in a trailer. I did it a bunch one summer with my son. I loved to hear him say, “Go faster daddy!” But one day while sitting on my front porch I watched as a neighbor from behind me ride by with one of them just like I had. He was in front of the church about a hundred feet from the house when he hit some loose gravel and came down hard and fast. He didn’t have any time to react, and his daughter never knew what hit her. She was messed up with a broken arm and some very bad road rash to boot. TGFH (Thank God For Helmet) but the way the seats are she wrenched her neck pretty bad. After the ambulance left I took his bike into my garage, and removed the child seat from mine. He did the same to his the next day, and to top things off he used my saw to cut them in half. He was afraid that someone would take them out of the trash.

That had some side protection to it. This thing is using your arms for protection, and it provides no protection for handlebar impact when you do hit the ground. Given the added high up weight I can only imagine the amount of stability that is lost due to center of gravity shifting up the bike.

Get a trailer, your child deserves the safety. Then when they are old enough get a trail a bike, but keep well away from this thing.
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